July 13, 2018

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Priests on podcast bring student out of his ‘worst spiritual slump’

By Joseph Lahmann (Special to The Criterion)

Joseph LahmannA little over a year ago, I was experiencing the worst spiritual slump of my life. I was just going through the motions of my faith. At Mass, I was never really present. I mumbled through hymns and daydreamed during the readings.

Outside of Mass, my faith life consisted solely of a few scattered prayers as I drifted off to sleep. I just didn’t really view it as important.

Luckily, my life took a different direction when I started dating a girl whose priorities were much better placed than mine. I was inspired to change, but if that inspiration would’ve stayed there, it wouldn’t have done very much good.

I needed some substance to back up that inspiration. And then one day at work, I came across a podcast, called “Catholic Stuff You Should Know” run by some priests (Father Nathan Goebel, Father John Nepil, Father Michael O’Louglin and Father Mike Rapp).

I started listening. I didn’t stop. The priests on that podcast gave me just what I needed to come out of my spiritual slump.

As I walked my normal, everyday life, these priests walked with me, even while being thousands of miles away.

As I began listening, I was first drawn in by what I thought was their humor. The verbal sparring matches between Father Nathan and Father John kept my work days feeling short and full.

But as I sifted through hour after hour of podcasts, it became less for the jokes and more for their true fraternity and passion for their faith. Suddenly, I began understand what the Catholic faith really is.

It isn’t just a bunch of hoops to jump through which are more trouble than they are worth. No, what I began to see and feel was a beautiful joy which arises from embracing God and others. I saw a faith alive and vibrant in these priests, and more importantly, one that wasn’t aloof or distant.

A whole new world was opening up for me. As it did, I found myself further and further from the slump which had affected me. As I learned to love my faith, I also learned how to live it.

Today, I still listen often to their podcasts and care just as deeply about my faith. Their unwitting guidance has followed me and will continue to follow me for many years to come.

I have so much further to go on my own faith journey, but I’m not alone. Despite the unconventional medium, I know the wisdom I glean from Father Nathan, Father John, Father Mike and Father Michael will continue to guide my path toward God.

(Joseph and his mother, Margaret Lahmann, are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Richmond. He completed the 11th grade at Seton Catholic High School in Richmond last spring and is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2018 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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